Opinion: Landis finds soapbox at Wall Street Journal

According to an article posted at Wall Street Journal online, Floyd Landis has engaged “in hours of interviews with The Wall Street Journal in May.”  This article is apparently a distilled transcript of those interviews with little to no commentary on any other points of view aside from a couple “no comment” or “I deny everything” quotes.  To be fair to the Wall Street Journal, however, those accused in Landis’s statements have been fairly tight lipped on the issue by choice.

I’ve approached this issue with some skepticism since it first broke.  I’ll agree with other statements that have been made that the credibility of Floyd Landis is somewhat in question.  However, I’m neither a Texas flag waving Armstrongian, nor a Texas flag burning anti-Armstrongian.  While I would find it very disappointing, I concede the possibility that Lance Armstrong may have a couple of bags of blood hanging in his closet next to whatever skeleton may also be there.  It was with this open mindset that I was actually looking forward to reading this article – hoping journalistic impartiality would prevail at the WSJ and I could get some compelling information.

Instead, I got hundreds of words of direct quotes from Floyd Landis, followed by this gem:

One evening during the camp, a handful of team members piled into a black Chevrolet Suburban for a night on the town, with Mr. Armstrong serving as the master of ceremonies.

Mr. Landis had met Mr. Armstrong briefly in the past, but most of what he knew about the world’s most famous cyclist was what he’d read in Mr. Armstrong’s 2000 memoir, “It’s Not About the Bike.” Mr. Landis had devoured the book, in which Mr. Armstrong chronicled his comeback from testicular cancer and portrayed himself as a modest and devoted family man.

Mr. Armstrong took the wheel of the Suburban and roared off through the streets. Stop signs didn’t rate more than a tap of the brake, Mr. Landis said. Some traffic signals were wholly ignored and speed limits went unheeded. In the middle of the trip, Mr. Landis said, another rider asked, jokingly, “Are there no cops in this town?”

The journey ended at the Yellow Rose, a strip club on the north side of town. Don King, the club’s general manager, said Mr. Armstrong and other cyclists on his teams have been coming to the club for about a decade. The riders were ushered into a booth. They ordered drinks and mingled with the dancers.

Later that night, some of the cyclists drove downtown to the offices of the agency that represents Mr. Armstrong. There, the party accelerated, according to Mr. Landis. Four strippers arrived at the offices with two bouncers and began performing a private show for the cyclists and others, he said. Mr. Landis and another young rider who attended, Walker Ferguson, said some people were snorting what appeared to be cocaine.

It is right here that any hope of honest journalism faded.  Notice it is no longer clear in the article that these allegations are the unsubstantiated words of Floyd Landis.  Instead, reporters Rhaveeed Albergotti And Vanessa O’Connell have shifted to present Landis’s claims as fact.  It was at this point my opinion started to shift towards one side of this debate.  Given that parties, strippers and cocaine actually have nothing to do with doping in pro cycling, this started to take on the odor of a smear campaign from a disgruntled Floyd Landis as some have claimed.  And of the Wall Street Journal realizing the sensational nature of those claims and throwing journalistic due diligence out the window in favor of sensational words.  Shameful.

All of this being said, there is definitely a part of me left with a nagging soundtrack of Perl Jam’s song “Jeremy” ringing in my head as I mull all this over.  “Floyd Landis spoke in… class today.

Video of new Look 695 bike

Video posted to Look Cycle TV’s video stream on YouTube shows the new Look 695 – the latest crown jewel in the Look bicycles lineup – in action.  Notes on the video advertise:

695 : technological revolutions that maximize performance.
ZED 2 Crankset: Unequaled stiffness to weight ratio. Unparalleled
performance. The all new LOOK C-Stem and HSC 7 FORK: Unrivalled
stiffness and light weight, adjustability, and precision handling. [sic]

The folks over at CyclingNews.com have some of the technical specs in their article.  You can watch the video for yourself:

Update: On July 27, Bikerumor.com posted more detailed specs of this bike.

Doing three grand tours of my own this year

There are numerous races both large and small that make up the pro cycling season.  However, none get quite the attention of the three grand tours:  the Tour de France, the Giro de Italia (Tour of Italy) and the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain).  However, this year I’ll also be doing three of my own grand tours:

* My wife Melissa will be with me on these two rides

Wait.  The Tour de Ross’s Commute?  What the heck is that??

For over three years now, I’ve been commuting an average of 3 days a week between my home in Sacramento, CA and my work in Palo Alto.  It is about 125 miles or so by car.  Of course, I don’t do it by car.  However, after a couple of the “Oh – did you ride here from Sacramento” jokes from coworkers as I rolled my bike into the office, I decided to make it so that I could actually answer “Yes!”

That’s right, I’ll be throwing my faith (and bike, and life) into the hands of Google maps and their new bike route mapping to plot my safe path the 139 miles I’ll be riding.

There are some interesting challenges and points of interest in my route:

I don’t fully know what to expect of this ride yet.  That is part of why I am so excited about it!

Seattle To Portland Ride Packets

I got home from work to find that the entry packets for next month’s Group Health Seattle to Portland Classic (STP) had arrived for my wife and I.  I’d actually been kinda looking forward to this.  However, upon opening one of the two envelopes, I was a little bit overwhelmed by the explosion of materials and promotional items that poured out.

  1. Flier for an additional 10% off of anything (including bikes) at select Pacific Northwest Performance Bicycle shops.  Also worthy of note – the Seattle location near the start line is open 24 hours on the night before the start.  Brilliant thinking on the part of the store management if you ask me.
  2. Ad from Carter Subaru.  Apparently the Subaru Outback is great for carrying mountain bikes.
  3. Flier for STP merchandise.
  4. Sample of Chamois Butt’r.  Cause there is no better time to try out a new chamois cream than on a double century!
  5. Ticket to get my bike transported back to the University of Washington from Portland at the end of the ride.
  6. Parking pass allowing me to leave my car (the Prius mentioned earlier) on the UW campus while I do the ride.
  7. Flier for Marathonfoto.com.  Apparently they will take pictures of me.
  8. Jersey number with 2 attached luggage tags.  They transport bags for you from Seattle to the end, and to the midway point if you are doing the ride over two days as my wife and I are.  My wife got number 4771, I got 4772.  Clearly she is the team leader.
  9. Handle bar numbers.  (Huh?)
  10. Helmet number (a sticker).  (OK, so to end the confusion that I had on the handlebar/helmet numbers, I read the FAQ.)
  11. 4 saftey pins.  Presumably for jersey number.
  12. 3 twisty-ties (you know – those paper-coated metal wires)  Presumably for the handlebar numbers.
  13. One branded rain jacket / wind breaker
  14. Cloth bag.  I’d like to say it is a musette, but the straps aren’t nearly long enough.
  15. Route sheet for the Personal Support Vehicles.  I don’t have one currently.  Maybe I can pick one up from Carter Subaru?
  16. And finally – the ride guide.  All 23 pages of it.

All joking aside, I’ve been very impressed with the organization of this event from the first minute I started checking out the website.  Given over 200 miles of planned route and 10,000 participants, I would hope for nothing less.

Armstrong confirms – this his last tour

Considering the fact that Lance Armstrong has helped to morph Twitter into pro cycling’s apparent news outlet of choice, it seems fitting that he would chose that form to officially confirm that this – the 2010 Tour de France – would be his last.

Note: Armstrong's next tweer read " Doh, sorry, meant 'my' final Tour."

However, somehow I suspect it will not be the last of the biting commentaries on the cycling world as a whole.  Versus channel, I’m looking in your direction:

Floyd Landis still racing

There are probably few that would argue against the statement that Floyd Landis is tenacious.    No amount of controversy will seem to keep this guy out of bike races (although it has kept him out of a few teams) – and the recent media swarm is no exception.

True to form, Mr. Landis showed up in the Nevada City Classic.  Joe Lindsey had this to say in the Odds and Ends section of the June 21st Boulder Report:

-Way far away over there on the West Coast, Floyd Landis suited up for the Nevada City Classic. He got fifth [correction] fourth, racing as an independent and wearing – you choose whether it’s irony or not – an “Arrogant Bastard Ale” jersey. [sic]

Garmin-Transition Tour de France roster set

Garmin-Transitions announced their 2010 Tour de France roster.

  • Julian Dean
  • Tyler Farrar
  • Ryder Hesjedal
  • Robbie Hunter
  • Martijn Maaskant
  • David Millar
  • Johan Van Summeren
  • Christian Vande Velde
  • David Zabriskie

Tyler Farrar provides a welcome set of sprinting credentials in a field that is becoming thin on short-distance speed freaks.  The absence of Tom Boonen (QuickStep) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) were announced earlier this week – both due to injuries.

Funky Monkey Family survives LA traffic

Funky Monkey Family

In a previous post I introduced and interviewed Antonio and Jessica as they left San Francisco heading towards South America.  In a recent update to their blog, they comment on the experience of cycling the streets of Los Angeles.  It is interesting to get the perspective of someone who has both spent the last several month traveling vastly different roads and areas, yet now skewed by a lifetime of cycling/motorist interaction baggage.

Schlecks leaving the team

It has been announced that both Frank and Andy Schleck, along with the current Saxo Bank Directerr Sportif Kim Andersen, will be forming a new team at the conclusion of this season.  News of this intended move is nothing new and not surprising.  This represents yet another pivotal change for the current Team Saxo Bank following the announcement of an end of the relationship with the Denmak based financial institution as the title sponsor.

Andy Schleck down but not out after training ride crash

Older brother Frank Schleck posted a photo on his TweetPhoto stream of a banged up Andy Schleck.  According to a report on VeloNews.com the tumble took place on a training ride and resulted in no serious injuries that might threaten involvement in the upcoming Tour de France.

Andy Schleck (@andy_schleck) himself reported the incident on twitter:

Was out training with@schleckfrank hit a big bump in the road, went down pretty hard,lost quit lot of skin all over my body but I be okay

Frank Schleck (@schleckfrank) also commented:

@andy_schleck went down in training this morning I was really scared.tought about tdf,but finally its just skin n wounds.autch.he is ok

However, all of this happened one day before the Luxembourg national championship race.  It remains to be seen if Andy will be participating in that event.